Carddies Knight Set – an excellent children’s travel toy promoting imaginative play

So I have to hold my hands up!

Carddies family set

Carddies family set

We were given a pack of these little Carddies to review almost a year ago now: we used them, loved them, I started to write about them then things happened and I never published our review. This morning Freddie was rummaging through his travel box and spied them, ‘look mummy, remember these, do you remember when the dragon lost his colours and the Knight had to find them again?’ and yes I remember our story well! We then started to play with them again at the breakfast table. They are actually very wonderful – good old fashioned fun! So here is the review I wrote almost a year ago…

The Dragon who lost his colour!

The Dragon who lost his colour!

Every time we go away Freddie gets excited about packing his activity case. Our last trip was no exception. During the weeks building up to our trips we always gather items that could help our little chap at restricted times; in the car, plane or train. Our Carddies arrived a couple of days before our holiday and so it wasn’t too frustrating that he couldn’t start playing with them.

There are currently twelve sets from Ballet to Cavemen and Fairies to Football! We opted for the Knights Set. The first thing that struck me was the quality of the colouring pencils. All too often I find that when you buy any sort of colouring activity the pens, pencils or crayons are quite often of bad quality meaning you have to use an alternative but the pencils included in Carddies were wonderful to use. They colour the excellent quality card with ease.

We all got involved with the colouring and Freddie loved naming the characters. We didn’t get to colour them all on this trip as we stopped to play with them for a while. In our play our dragon (who has lots of colours on one side and none on the other) lost his colours and the Knights had to find them again.

Yay, the knights have found the dragons colour again!

Yay, the knights have found the dragons colour again!

At first I was a little sceptical about the price tag of £8.99 but the quality of the pencils, card and hand-drawn characters, who come with plastic stands, mean that these little characters and back drops will last trip after trip.

Freddie had just turned four when we first played with the Carddie Knights and he will be five in April and still loves them. They are aimed at children between three and ten years although we think that toddlers will love to watch scenes acted out too, as long as you keep the small bits away from them!

We think these are great little sets all housed in a handy box. With a little imagination they provide a perfect distraction for journeys, raining days and eating out etc. Keep one in your bag!

carddies (1)

Carddies are little card people to colour in and play. There are lots of sets to choose from and each set contains: card people, a card scene (all artwork drawn by hand), high quality colouring pencils and plastic stands for the little people and animals. They all come in a neat little box and made in the UK. They cost £8.99 per pack and you can read more about them and find stockists on their website http://www.carddies.com

Our best home-made I Spy jar yet, or so Freddie says!

We love playing I Spy, it’s one of our favourite games when we are in the car along with ‘twenty questions’. This weekend we travelled to Granny and Pops house to stay for the weekend. The journey can take 1 hr 30 to 3 hrs depending on the M25. We usually take something to keep Freddie occupied, generally a few books, pens and IPad, I spy card game etc and love to play I spy and Twenty questions.

This time we decided to make an I spy game before we left (it was a brilliant rainy day activity)

First we went on a treasure hunt around the house to find a selection of mini toys and treasure.

Freddie searched through his old toys for anything small

Freddie searched through his old toys for anything small

We finally made our choices and took a picture to print.

Toys and treasure that made the grade

Toys and treasure that made the grade

We then rolled up some tin foil (for a glitter effect) and added some out of date cake sprinkles to our rice. We slowly added the toys and rice to our large plastic jar.

ispy fillingipsy bottle and freddie

Once filled we closed the lid and stuck it down with sellotape for extra peace of mind! Didn’t want rice all over the car – Daddy would not be pleased…

Freddie was very proud of his jar, he made it all on his own!

Freddie was very proud of his jar, he made it all on his own!

 

It was a real hit! Freddie really enjoyed finding his treasure, it actually took him two days to find it all (not two days solid but he loved not only doing it in the car but with Granny too)

Concentration!

Concentration!

There are some great variations on the web, you can find a few ideas on our I Spy post.

I Spy games for all ages – perfect for family travel

Visiting relatives and friends or going on our family holiday we often have to spend time in the car with our children, there are plenty of games and gadgets to keep them amused. A family favourite of ours that is always a winner in our car is ‘I Spy’.

There are lots of variations to suit children of all ages, take a look at our ‘I Spy Bottle’ here, and below are some great ideas from the traditional to the more quirky!

I Spy (traditional for all ages) No props needed

This is an obvious one, our youngest loves it and you can adapt it to all ages. For younger children you can use colours so ‘I spy with my little eye something that is green’. As they become familiar with sounds you can move on to the next stage, where you can use sounds rather than letters: ‘I spy with my little eye something beginning with ‘ah’ for a, or even ‘sounds like toad’ (answer ‘road’) and finally the more traditional game that works for older children using normal letters.

Travel Bingo

Travel Bingo is good for children of all ages. You can prepare your game as an activity on a rainy day. Some ideas we have used are: cut out things from magazines, such as cars or cows and stick them on sheets of A4 paper from one line, two lines to full house. You can find lots of printables online or even draw a few yourselves!

I Spy Bottles and Jars

So the idea behind these are a bit different to the usual I spy game. Fill a jar/clear plastic bottle almost with rice and some colourful or glittery bits and pieces along with some mini toys. Seal the bottle so it can NEVER be opened! Younger babies and toddlers will just love exploring what is inside if the toys are colourful enough. To take it to another level, list the items on a piece of paper (either by image or words depending on your child’s age) and then see how long it takes to find all of the items on the list.

Our four year old had hours of fun with this and he made it too!

Our four year old had hours of fun with this and he made it too!

Here is one we made earlier and below are some other great ones we have found on our cyber travels

http://www.jenniferslittleworld.com/2012/07/pinaddicts-pinterest-challenge-i-spy.html#comment-form

http://kiddley.com/2013/07/01/i-spy-lookie-loos/

I Spy Books and Bags

Another spin on the I Spy game is to use   books and bags.  Here is a great idea of how to make I Spy books and bags from toys around the home: Mum Rebecca took pictures of her childrens’ toys and voilà a brilliant home from home I Spy game travel game!

http://happybabydesigns.blogspot.co.uk/2010/02/travel-distractionsergames.html?showComment=1321038326895#c5396727801652900884

http://www.modernparentsmessykids.com/2011/06/diy-scavengar-hunts-and-i-spy-games.html#comment-53014

Alternatively if you haven’t time to make anything you could try…

Are we Nearly There Yet?

Are we nearly there yet

We bought a box of cards but you can easily make your own. The ones we bought are called ‘Are We Nearly There Yet?’ They are brilliant! We do not only use them for long journeys and holidays but  also use them for any trips more than 20 mins or so. They are essentially cards with pictures on them of things to find each with points from 1 to 3 depending on what they are i.e. car wash, lorry etc. The age says 6+ but our four year old loves them!

We bought them from Amazon £7.99

or

The Michelin I Spy books.

I spy

We are slowly working our way through the ‘Every Vehicle on the Road’ version, but there are lots of titles like: I Spy On A Car Journey or I Spy in France or even I Spy The Night Sky. These great little books are fun for all ages: our four year old just loves ticking off the vehicles he sees them younger children could use little stickers if pens/pencils are not an option and as they get older they will realise that there are points associated with every ‘I Spy’ item and these lead to certificates! So for older kids it’s a fun way to get competitive!

Again we bought ours from Amazon at £1.99 or you can visit the Michelin I Spy website directly where they are £2.50

If you have made or bought any I Spy games I would love to hear from you 🙂